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on 4 September 2011
This is an incredibly lyrical and moving book (I cried at least four times during the course of my read - committing the terrible tears on the tube no-no at least twice),it's also funny and candid, full of searing understatement. It's been called a grief memoir, but it seems to me that the centre of the novel is Dominic himself, Simon Stephenson's brother who was killed in the 2004 Tsunami.

It's this richness of contrast that makes this book a portrait in the true sense of the word, full of light and shade and a multitude of angles on the subject matter. It is an honest and compelling exploration of loss but it is also a travel book, biography and autobiography (Dominic and Simon were born in such close proximity that the stories of the childhood are almost one and then same), even a historical and scientific account. These strands weave together and at their centre the reader is left with a space which marks the place that Dominic left in the world of his family and those who loved him.

It is Stephenson's courage and humility in weaving his strands together that make the book so haunting. Dominic was one of approximately 200,000 people who died in the disaster, each death creating it's own epicentre of loss in the lives of those left behind. Simon is realistic about Dominic's place in the magnitude of this grief, but the detail and care expended on this work can become a way to appreciate the enormity of loss as a whole - a still eye of a great storm.
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VINE VOICEon 15 June 2011
Format: Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
Simon Stephenson's eulogy to his brother Dominic, who died in the Boxing Day 2004 tsunami is a wonderful book.

It is by turns beautiful, painfully personal in the intensity of the experiences described and frustrating as, in the process of grieving, Stephenson seems to ramble or retrace ground already covered. Frustrating, that is, until you, the reader, remember that that is how grieving works. Stephenson returns, over and over again to the Thai island where Dominic and his girlfriend Eileen disappeared, he looks for "signs" of them - Dominic's sandal, his wrist watch. He invents stories to smooth over the details of their loss, to pretend things could have been easier for them than probably they were.

As a memoir of grieving and loss, it is superbly, unashamedly honest.

But more than that, what really gave me pure joy from reading Let Not The Waves of The Sea was Stephenson's descriptions of Edinburgh, the city where I, too live. It was in his passages on Edinburgh and his shared memories of growing up with Dominic that his writing really took off, or perhaps my knowledge and love of the city helped me share the intimate moments he was describing.

Regardless, Stephenson is a skilled writer who has made something beautiful from his tragedy.
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on 16 August 2011
Format: Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
This is a beautifully written book, a true love story - that of one brother to another. It is gut-wrenchingly honest, and I found grief laid bare difficult to read at times, but it was impossible to put this book down. Stephen's older brother Dominic and his girlfriend died on the island of Phi Phi along with thousands of others during the 2004 tsunami, and the book documents the initial stomach-churning moment when they are lost, to their heartbreaking discovery, and as the family and friends begin to come to terms with their loss. Stephen, later accompanied by his mother, retraces Dominic's footsteps to Phi Phi to make his own peace with the island and what happened.

Stephen is a very talented writer. He brings a tear to your eye on one page, and then makes you smile wistfully on the next. You feel like you know him, Dominic, and his close, loving group of friends. The book starts in torment, but reaches some sort of quiet peace at the end and you feel like you've followed the family through on their voyage of recovery.

This book is Stephen's gift to Dominic and he could not have given him a more honest, loving, precious one. I hope it's not too clumsy to say that I think his brother would have been very proud of him.
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VINE VOICEon 24 June 2011
Format: Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
Simon Stephenson, who has some TV writing credits to his name, here writes something which fiction could not emulate. His older brother Dominic and his girlfrind Eileen, were two of the thousands of people on Phi-Phi on the Boxing Day that the Tsunami struck. Telling the story of Dominics life through reminisences and tales of brotherly deeds shared and not shared he attempts to make sense of the loss of his brother. The book itself is moving and insightful, dealing not only with loss, but in a way coming to terms with it, he relates how he tried, and continues to try to cope. Not so much a story of a life lost, but of a life lived and remembered.
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on 1 March 2012
This is a really really beautiful book. Simon has a real talent for bringing the characters and places to life, in moving detail. Part memoir, part travelogue, this is the true story of a man who died in the Boxing Day Tsunami, and of his brother's grief.

Although undeniably sad (and it is so, SO sad), this book is not sentimental, or sickly sweet. It is sometimes over written, but only in descriptions of the landscape. The emotional detail is pitch perfect, because Simon never tells you what to feel - the emotional response to the story sneaks up on you, and then overwhelms you, because you aren't expecting it from the writing.

In places, this book is very very funny - the episode in which Simon believes he has contracted dengue fever is truly hilarious. I was crying, again, but with laughter.

Brilliant book. Buy it if you've lost, buy it if you've loved, but BUY IT.
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on 14 August 2011
I read this book and by the end of it I felt that I knew Dominic and grieved for his passing. That shows really gifted writing by the author. Since then I have heard him speak at the Edinburgh book festival and was lucky enough to briefly meet his equally remarkable mother and some of his friends. This young man shows real talent and I hope that this is the first of many books.
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VINE VOICEon 23 November 2011
Format: Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
I must confess that it took me a while to read "Let Not the Waves of the Sea" but that was simply because it was so emotionally overpowering, I could only take in a little at a time.

Very well written and very moving. The book shows both hope and hopelessness but ultimately highlights the strength of the human spirit and the ability to move on despite suffering such awful tragedy. Mr Stephinson writes not only of his loss, but that of others who also lost dear ones in the tsunami, and this book is a memorial to love. His brother is not a shadowy figure, we learn what he liked to do, what he was like as a person and how he interacted with his family. To be loved so much is intensely moving and I hope that life is being kind to the author.
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on 29 August 2011
I was lent this book by a friend who heard it serialised on Radio 4. I found it to be an incredibly moving account of the author's loss of his beloved brother. It was, however, also much more than this. The story of the aftermath of the Tsunami for the author and his family was unexpectedly compelling and I finished the final chapter with tears streaming down my face. This book reminded me of Blake Morrison's memoirs about his parents. I look forward to reading any future works by this author.
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VINE VOICEon 15 June 2011
Format: Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
A moving account of a family's heartbreak following the Boxing Day Tsunami. Author Simon Stephenson talks us through the days and months following the disaster which claimed the life of his much loved brother. The book gives a detailed run-down of the wait for information and the challenging times ahead mixed with memories of their childhood together and the bond the author developed with those on Ko Phi Phi who shared in his heartbreak of losing loved ones. This book left me with a lump in my throat on more than one occasion and I became so engrossed in Simon's storytelling that I found myself bumping into commuters as I tried to finish a chapter on my way to work. Although we have seen the pictures/videos, I think this is a book that really hits home just what a devastating effect the tsunami had for so many but also what a special place Thailand is. It's a well written book that will stay with you long after you finish the final page.
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on 8 July 2012
From a male perspective of losing a loved brother to the worst recorded tsunami around the Ko Pi Pi Island. The writer talks in a very mature and gentle way of losing his brother. How it affects his life and some of his family and when tragedy strikes the family in later years, he tells of how the lost of his young brother still returns because he has no-one as close to support him. Not a story full of saddness but an ongoing theme of loss. The book had some clear factual notes on how a tsunami takes place, there are medical explanations that also clarified tropical diseases and illness from our character a med-student. Some of the descriptions of the Island and its characters were superb, Highly recommend
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